Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Fairyland Mushrooms

One the games we play when we hike is to imagine where the fairies live and what they use different parts of the forest for.  This spot was declared a cafe and then a playground for little fairies.  What are your thoughts?

Its funny how we cycle through phases of looking back at different parts of my life.  As a high school teacher, I often found myself comparing my high school experiences to the ones of my students.  This past year, I took on teaching a much younger grade and found myself remembering that part of my school.  It was probably not my favourite year of my childhood.  It was my first year in a new school and the older kids in our class weren't always kind.  My most recalled experience from this part of my education was having our teacher send me and another student into the dusty book room to practice our spelling with banned spellers in the era of the common curriculum and failing a multiplication test that was otherwise perfect, except that my 5's looked a bit like the letter s.  To this day, I find this a draconian outcome.

Now, I find myself trying to puzzle how this pandemic will make my children's childhood's even more different than mine.    I'm trying to prepare them for the reality of school next year by constantly reminding them about not touching their face, washing their hands, and practicing social distancing, but I worry that we'll end up with a generation of kids who feel anxious when they are closer to someone than 6 feet.   Its a weird time in this world.  Some days I want to ignore it, since years living in the north makes some of it less weird, we rarely left our house except for work and groceries.  I feel like there will be lots to examine when all of this is done.  Or hopefully, when it is done.  I hope that it will make us a better world, but some days it seems to be making us worse.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see.  Probably we'll be worse in some ways and better in others.  So, until then, I guess we can only do our own bests and like everyone else, figure out what that actually means.

Tooth Fungas - Don't eat me!

Things most people don't know about me - I was almost a forest engineer - until I realized that I really wanted to play SIM City in real life and switched to Civil - and then I realized I missed teaching, and after all that, I'm almost on my 10th year of teaching.  However, I still find the many relationships between Fungi and Forest fascinating (yes, kids - that was intentional alliteration!)

I love fungi that grow on trees!  These are particular beauties with their bright colours and long teeth.  I was busy hiking so I didn't even think to try and identify the host tree, but the trees here were surprisingly large for the subalpine forest.  I thought it would be easy to classify this striking mushroom, but many hours of searching have come up short.  The best match I could find is Hydnophlebia chrysorhiza or Phanerochaete sp.  However, if any forestry folks can help me out.  The available information online suggested that it attacked plane trees in one article and conifers in the other.  (This log is likely a conifer).  In the meantime, I'm wishing that I could find my fungi identification book, but I have a suspicion that it was for Eastern Canada and also likely still in eastern Canada at my mother's house.

Still a beauty found in the Canadian Rockies!  

Friday, June 26, 2020

To the joy of discovering new places!

Here are two new locations that we discovered - making this one of my new all time favourite hikes.  For very little effort, we were treated with 2 amazing waterfalls and one stunning lake, which regrettably made a small person's hiking boot wet, but she made it to the end with a Canadian Tire boot liner and a luckily stashed dry sock in my backpack!

The birds sang and the forest floor was carpeted with tiny yellow violets!  We are lucky to live in such a beautiful world!

Favourite places

I suppose it is not surprising that we return to our favourite places.  This part of this trail is one of mine.  A gravel outwash delta jutting in to a deep green lake, the vegetation is unique from the surrounding forests, the pines twisted like expressive dancers, and the view in all directions nothing short of magnificent!

I'm sure that I will try to make it back here this summer.  With reduced parking, it may be tricky to get a spot, but there are some new spots to explore that I haven't been.  Here's to rising early, and snagging those parking spots.  Although, the hardest part is herding two kids into the car with enough food, cloths, water and gear for the day - and still getting out the door early enough!

I'm am going to try and post a lot more this summer!  I'll have made 2 posts in 2020 by the time I press publish - which I haven't done since 2014.  The writing will probably still be rambly and purposeless, but one goal at a time!

I've done more serious hiking in the last week than I have since a few years ago!  I got 10 km out of my 4 year old without a single request to be carried, so I'm optimistic with enough motivational treats we are going to have a great summer and walking in the woods.  Even yesterday, we managed to hit that threshold where the natural landscape completely changed my stress level.  The view of green and trees after months of being a this desk (granted I have a decent view out the window that does in fact include trees and mountains, but its not the small as just being.

Me and my small hiking  companions have been revelling in the spring flowers - violets in white, purple and yellow.  Columbine in yellow, pink and purple.  We even saw glacier and blue bead lilies yesterday! 

What I also learned is that after several months of rarely leaving my house, my feet were wondering what these strange prisons called shoes were - although, they've forgiven me today.  Here is to blogging and hiking and lots of pictures!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Uncertainty of our Path

It wouldn't be a blog entry without first pointing out how long it has been since I last posted.  So welcome to June 2020. We are currently in the middle of a global pandemic (aka COVID-19) and schools were last open Friday, March 13th, 2020.  This coming Monday is our last official day of school.

So here is the good news - I have a lens that works with my DSLR and I can take pictures worthy of sharing again.  It's been awhile since my old K20D camera stopped working on the way back up Baker Lake in January 2017 and shortly after replacing my camera body, my good lens broke.  So, here is hoping that I get back to posting more regularly, now that a lack of photos won't be an excuse.  My other excuse is software based.  Since Picasa ceased to work, I had to think about it more since I could blog directly from my photo management software.  Also, I seem to still struggle to get pictures off my phone which seems to have become my default camera, even if the pictures stink.

As for the future, who knows what it holds.  Hopefully a few more pictures to share on this blog now and again!  Maybe some writing that doesn't sound like I've been interrupted a million times. 

At any rate, enjoy this beautiful shooting star!  We've enjoyed the flowers at the Many Spring Trail, but have had to get up early to miss the crowds.  Here's to hoping that we get back in the habit of spending lots of time outdoors now that its summer.